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Signature Dish: Ebonie Aice's Macaroni and Cheese

When Ebonie Aice makes her delicious macaroni and cheese dish, it is more art than science. She created the recipe through trial and error, and she doesn’t always measure all the ingredients. The result, however, is always a hit with her family.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

When Ebonie Aice makes her delicious macaroni and cheese dish, it is more art than science. She created the recipe through trial and error, and she doesn’t always measure all the ingredients. The result, however, is always a hit with her family.

WHO: Ebonie Aice, 33, a stylist at Simply Raw salon on Busch Boulevard, Tampa.

WHAT: Macaroni and cheese.

ABOUT THE RECIPE: "It's very rich," Aice says. "I only make it on special occasions," along with other favorites like oxtails and candied yams. "It's for those occasions when you're not watching your weight or your figure. But it's good! I want you to eat it!" Family members suffer from high blood pressure so she avoids cooking with a lot of salt. "I'm conscious of that part, but calories? No."

She created the recipe by experimenting, "adding a little bit of this and that." The recipe gets a big thumbs-up from son Darryl, 7, and fiance Anthony Davis, who played offensive tackle for the Buccaneers and the St. Louis Rams.

TIPS FOR OTHERS: "Make it to your liking, what you want it to taste like. I taste and test and eat as I go."

For some ingredients, "I don't measure," she says. If you prefer a sharper taste, use more sharp cheddar; if you like it milder, use more of the milder cheddar. The recipe calls for three 8-ounce packages of shredded cheese; if you really love cheese, add another (Ebonie likes the Four-Cheese Blend).

CAN'T COOK WITHOUT: Lawry's Seasoned Salt. "I love that stuff." This is a mix of salt, sugar, spices and herbs, including paprika, turmeric, onion and garlic.

THE COOK SAYS: "You have to love what you do. Don't be afraid to experiment; there's nothing wrong with that. If I've got some chopped-up ham, I'll put it in there. I'll try what I have around."

Judy Stark, Special to the Times

Signature Dish is published periodically in Taste. If you have a recipe that you would like featured or would like to nominate other home cooks and their dishes, please e-mail the information to features@sptimes.com with a name and daytime phone number. Include SIGNATURE DISH in the subject line. Nominations can be mailed to Taste, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

>>easy

Ebonie Aice's Macaroni and Cheese

1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni

4 tablespoons butter (half a stick), cut into small pieces

4 eggs

1 (16-ounce) tub cottage cheese

1 (16-ounce) tub sour cream

1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups)

2 (8-ounce) packages shredded mild cheddar cheese (total 4 cups)

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of Lawry's Seasoned Salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and return

to the pot. Add the butter, stirring to melt.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and mix with the cottage cheese, sour cream, shredded cheeses, milk and seasonings. Fold in the buttered macaroni. Pour into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more to let the top get crispy.

Serves 8 or more.

Source: Ebonie Aice, Tampa

Signature Dish: Ebonie Aice's Macaroni and Cheese 04/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4:30am]
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